LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - She has been all the talk on the national political stage and Thursday night it certainly appeared actress Ashley Judd is one step closer to making a serious U.S. Senate run against Kentucky's Mitch McConnell.
State lawmakers tell WAVE 3 News more phone calls are coming from Judd and say there was a discussion about it among Democratic leadership Thursday night. Republicans say if it turns out to be true, they've got plenty of ammunition ready to go.
"We just got done meeting with the Governor's leaderships," said House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark.
The meeting with Governor Steve Beshear covered state pensions and the other hot topic of the year, so far. When we asked Clark if there was talk about Judd, he replied, "Well just briefly that she's been calling people, all of us."
There one more sign Judd is getting prepared to take on the most powerful Republican in Washington. Judd left messages for Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, but actually spoke to Clark.
"You know, I told her I would meet with her after the session, but I think she's seriously considering it," said Clark.
Republicans can see it coming. Days after Judd met with big money donors, she became the target of a second attack ad. Kentucky's 3rd District Congressman John Yarmuth maintains there's a reason they're coming after Judd. He told MSNBC she's more than a celebrity.
"She's got a public policy degree from Harvard," Yarmuth said. "This is someone who's always been very involved in issues and is very interested in politics."
"I really don't see her as a threat, but I welcome the race," said Deanna Brangers, the vice chair of the Kentucky Republican Party.
State Republicans know Judd has done polling and opposition research on herself, but they are banking on her political missteps like not bothering to vote between 1996 and 2004.
"I would like to think," Brangers said, "that anyone who's going to run for any kind of elective office from the lowest of levels to the highest of levels would have a history of participating in our electoral process."
Judd has taken a stance against coal, her own grandmother has called her a liberal and although she lived in Ashland and is a regular at University of Kentucky games, they believe the Tennessee resident's "visitor status" will be key.
While other Democrats have been mentioned as possible candidates to take on McConnell, Clark said, "I don't think the Democrats will have a major primary in this race. We'll do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen."
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